When the new James Bond film was released on 30th September, it was the third time 007 had visited Cuban shores. This time Bond gets a chance to enjoy Santiago de Cuba so read on and find out more about why Bond keeps coming back to "The Pearl of the Caribbean"!
No time like the present!
What with the coverage Cuba is getting in the cinema recently, there's no time like the present to go and see this wonderful island.
Back in August, Netflix release the film Vivo, telling how a "kinkajou", a mammal similar to a raccoon and native to the tropical rainforest, the protagonist spends his days in Havana performing in the town square alongside his owner, Andres (with the voice of Juan de Marcos of "Buena Vista Social Club" fame), before going on a long journey in the name of love.
Now, "No Time To Die", the 25th James Bond film featuring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Rory Kinnear, Ralph Fiennes, Rami Malek, and Ana de Armas is out, and Bond is back in Cuba!
After his previous visits in "GoldenEye" and "Die Another Day", it seems the world's most famous spy from Her Majesty's secret service can't stay away!
During his latest visit, James travels by boat to Santiago de Cuba from Jamaica, meeting intelligence operative "Paloma", who is played by Golden Globe-nominated actress Ana de Armas, originally from Cuba herself.
James meets Paloma at the "El Nido Bar" after agreeing to a request to go there in order to retrieve the scientist Valdo Obruchev, who has been captured by SPECTRE from an MI6 laboratory. To avoid giving anything away, you'll have to go and watch the film!
Keeping things authentic in Cuba
So how is Cuba's cameo in the spotlight in the latest 007 movie? In short, very good. The recreation of the city is for the most part very accurate, which probably comes from having a Cuban actress playing a major role in the film!
Although there's a small mistake with the number plate of a car insofar as it's the wrong colour and size, the critics and Cubaphiles should be pretty happy with the portrayal.
There was one tiny regret, however. Some of the shooting for scenes in Havana had to be shot at Pinewood Studios just outside London. Ana de Armas had hoped to spend more time introducing the other actors and crew to her island.
"We're supposed to be shooting in Cuba. I wish we were actually there to share this experience with my people. Get a Cuban crew in there. I bet they would have been very excited and proud." - Ana de Armas
As it is, the filmmakers have recreated an approximation of Cuba's old buildings, weather-beaten facades, hand-painted propaganda slogans, refurbished mid-century American cars, and the occasional piles of rubble in leafy Buckinghamshire instead. It looks the part, but the warm Caribbean breeze is hard to recreate in October in the UK!
A Cuban twist to a very British film
Despite adapting quickly to the role, Ana de Armas's inclusion was a relatively late surprise to the "No Time To Die" screenplay. When she first received the offer to play the part of Paloma, the character wasn't even in the script, and even the actress herself had doubts about stepping into the part!
"I never thought of myself as a Bond girl. It was hard to imagine. It wasn't reachable to get to that level of perfection, so tall and so glamorous. It was not on my radar. It was very flattering that they thought of me." - Ana de Armas
The film "No Time To Die" is out for viewing in cinemas now, and if you fancy seeing some of the paradisiacal island of Cuba, as well as one of the finest actresses this fascinating country has ever exported, we recommend a watch!
If Cuba is good enough for no fewer than three visits by 007 himself, why not try a Cuban twist yourself this Autumn?